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      6 min read

      Avantra discussion: How to grow an MSP business with AIOps - part 1

      AIOps woman standing with laptop next to a suitcase

      In this three part blog series, John Appleby sits down with Nick Miletich, CTO at Managecore, to discuss how building a next generation managed service firm had to include automation at the helm.

      About Nick Miletich, Chief Technical Officer at ManageCore:

      I’ve been in the SAP tech industry going on 19 years. I focus mostly on the technology stack in hosting SAP and managing SAP. This is what we call the Basis platform. In addition to that, the hosting platforms and evolving into the cloud stack. So the public clouds the hyperscalers such as Google Cloud, Azure, AWS. 

      A bit about Managecore:

      It is a managed services firm that handles the project work to migrate clients into public clouds in addition to supporting them ongoing from both an SAP Basis standpoint and a public cloud standpoint. So really an all encompassing solution for our clients

      Part I

      : So, Nick, I guess I met you before I started at Avantra because Managecore started in 2018 and I joined Avantra in 2019. So you were just starting up at the time, right?

      Nick: When Managecore was starting out, they tried to figure out how to do more with less. But not only that, how to provide technology to end users that just wasn't in the market at the time. SAP tends to be a robust platform but with robustness comes challenges. It is a platform that requires a lot of care and feeding - and a lot of that work is something that can be automated. 

      That's really the challenge Managecore faced - finding the capability of a product that could automate the tasks that we would generally have to hire for - even though the work didn’t present much of a challenge to consultants. As consultants joined Managecore they wanted to be challenged from a technology standpoint and to work on exciting things. Unfortunately, some of the things we do inherently aren't that exciting. So we were looking to provide this information and this technology not only to our consultants but also our clients. 

      It is really unheard of in the industry to be able to provide a platform where our clients can log in and take a look at all the different metrics around their system and then all the automation capabilities that we provide out of this tool set. That was really the key challenge; how do we encompass all of that into a software product that we can deploy at our clients and really break ground in the SAP industry and the SAP ecosystem.

      John: This is why people are still paying more than 2,000 Euros a day for a Basis consultant to do these manual tasks! 

      John: So, Nick, did you know when you created Managecore that you were creating something different?

      Nick: At Managecore, we built Tech to automate those manual tasks and hired really smart people. From the onset, we were determined to become a better managed services platform, and give more back to the SAP Community when it comes to managing from a basis perspective. We wanted to figure out and crack that code to say how do we use automation and how do we use technology to better do what we do because it admittedly is not glamorous to log into these systems and look at certain metrics. 

      Nick: What we found in Avantra was the capability to be able to accelerate that vision. There's a lot of technology we knew Avantra had which is the reason we went with the platform but then the ability to customize it to our needs accelerated Managecore’s ability to give our clients what really the industry has been missing all these years. 

      John: And still is, by the way, by and large. There are very large businesses that still operate essentially on this day rate model where they're focused on how many bodies they have, what do I build on a daily basis, how do I maximize it? 

      John: So, moving on, a lot of people don't understand what it is and hyperautomation is really simple. Think about your business as a collection of connected business processes. Imagine a semantic map. For most organizations that’s going to include “procure to pay” or the cash to “hire to retire”. What are the opportunities within that to make that an automated set of processes rather than a bunch of things that require you to move something from A to B?

      John: So I kind of think of Managecore as a hyperautomation service provider. So, my question is, since putting the Avantra AIOps platform in, are you seeing the reality of that ability to hyperautomate SAP services come to life?

      Nick: From the inception of using Avantra, Managecore had a vision in mind; can we handle and tackle some of the mundane tasks that we generally would have to hire for and that people really don't want to do to begin with.

      Nick: The consultants that come on board to Managecore want to be challenged. Trust me, I do a lot of interviews to hire and everyone wants to be challenged. They want the latest and greatest technology, they want to be able to work on that. We asked ourselves what we can do with Avantra to allow for that and we've seen it in spades. Not only can we monitor and manage but the ability to customize. By adopting the capabilities of Avantra and customizing it in a fashion that really isn't heard of in the industry allowed us to have that growth and success.

      It really enabled that hyperautomation play when it comes to supporting our clients. A few examples would be SAP security notes. It's a lot to go through those notes. Well the Avantra platform automates that. Every company is different when it comes to how they use SAP so the capability to be able to monitor across multiple different environments all at once with an ability to integrate into some of these public clouds. Using Avantra with public cloud technology to allow for a lot of this automation is quite frankly unheard of in the SAP Basis realm.

      “Hyperautomation is number one on our roadmap when it comes to our technology.”

      It allows us to retain top talent, it allows us to really focus on high value tasks which I think is again something that the industry is leaning towards.

      I don't feel that the industry and SAP clients nowadays want to know that you're monitoring mundane things. That's just a given. But what they're lacking, and which Managecore provides, is that experienced set of eyes and that experience brought to their environments. Because even if you think of how SAP has played out in 10 years, it’s a very complex product suite. Gone are the days where we had ECC and BW and everything could be kind of contained. We have all sorts of different products nowadays that really continually evolve and that allows Managecore to stay top of game in this industry by using the automation platform to give our clients what they want from monitoring, what they want from automation, keeping their systems safe and secure while providing high level very in depth recommendations to their landscape. I don't think a lot of MSPs are doing that today.

      John: If you would replace the word "SAP" with "Google Cloud platform" or "Amazon Web Services" or "Microsoft Azure", it wouldn't make any sense to the people in those markets because they solved this problem 10 years ago. It's fascinating that this is a problem that didn't get solved in SAP until now. 

      John: I’m talking to a customer right now who is undergoing a big HR transformation. As part of that HR transformation, they need up to date quality assurance data on a monthly basis. They'd like to have it more often but they have to take their system offline for two weeks a month to get the data refreshed from production. So they lose the productivity of an enormous team during that process of having the ECC core system down whilst they make a copy of it every month. It's just amazing to think that it can actually be done over the weekend. We have customers that are doing system refreshes in an hour. 

      The business operations person can actually put the request in an online form and it goes through an automated workflow for approval for downtime and is then just done over the weekend. They come back on Monday and they've got it. The opportunities for hyperautomation in the context of SAP are just absolutely phenomenal.

      If you want to find out more about how Managecore creates value and transparency within their SAP operations with Avantra, you can read Managecore's case study.

      Part II coming soon...